Tuesday 24 April 2018

50 Percent of Norwegians Do Not Switch to DAB. Rather Stay on FM

Media Authority: Local radio is important for media diversity.
The effort to switch national radio from FM to DAB+ has not been positive for radio

listening in Norway, despite the fact that there are now 31 DAB-channels, many of which are new. On the contrary, developments indicate stagnation bceause many Norwegians discard DAB and continue listening to FM on local radio and cross-border radio. The forced DAB switch-over is not the success story as presented at conferences around Europe. Rather this is a national failure confirmed by recent listening surveys, and also by the fact that only one out two cars have a DAB radio installed.

The local radio survey for the first quarter of  2018 have been published by TNS Kanatar for the Local Radio Association (NLF) . On NLF news page lokalradio.no writes that there are not more superlatives when we talk about the listening ship for Nea Radio, which is once again is Norway's most popular local radio. ”Just mad” is probably very suitable figures for a radio station that achieved incredible 57% daily support in the first quarter of 2018. As far as we know you have never seen similar numbers in Norway writes lokalradio.no.

The increasing number of listener shows that local radio is an important contributor to media diversity, says Director Mari Velsand at the Media Authority confirming local radio listening in most counties during the first quarter of 2018. The strongest growth is in Northern counties Troms and Finnmark, where the proportion of listening to local radio has increased by 60% to 11.7% in the last quarter. Overall, the proportion of listening to the local radio is now14.3 percent throughout the country.

In areas where national FM was switch-off in the last quarter of 2017, the total radio listening has decreased, despite the fact that listening to local radio is increasing. In central eastern Norway, total listening have fallen from 58.0 percent to 55.6 since last quarter. The Norwegian Media Authority expects radio listening to stabilize in 2018.

Today, the three national radio companies broadcast only on DAB +. Last week, these combined had a market share of 56.7%. The market share of national radio looks like this in week 14 (April 2-8) (local radio and cross-border listening is not included here)
NRK Public radio total: 69.2%
P4 Group (MTG) : 19.9%
Bauer Media: 10.3%

The largest public channels were NRK's P1 and P1 + with 25.9 resp. 6.8% as well as MTG's main channel P4 which had 11.8%. Radio Norway had only 4.2 percent, but Bauer could be even more unhappy with the new Radio1 only receiving 0.4 percent.

The three companies distribute a total of 31 channels on DAB+  It is easy to conclude that this fragmented output risks being affected by cannibalism. The channels eat up each other and the audience may have difficulty orienting themselves. On average, each DAB channel had only 1.83% of the radio audience. However, taking into account that the three main channels as well as the NRK P1+ together had almost half of the DAB listeners being the shares for each of the other 27 so-called niche channels in most cases have less than one (1) percent market share.

33% of the population listened to DAB radio in a single day in 2017, versus 25% in 2016, says Statistics Adviser Odd Vaage at Statistics Bureau Norway. The proportion of 2017 that used radio had an average day of 54%. 49 percentage points listened to terrestrial radio and 10 on-line radio. In Sweden, the 2017 share using radio was an average day 62%.

If the listening figures are not improved during 2018, the DAB venture may be a financial catastrophe for the two commercial companies - Swedish MTG and German Bauer - which now no longer broadcast on the FM band in Norway. For NRK, it is rather about the public broadcaster's trust capital when trying to explaining what went wrong.

The DAB transition, which started in January 2017, is not the success story the public broadcaster NRK and the lobby organisation Digitalradio Norge AS have presented at various conferences around Europe. The true story is quite different. Based on various listener surveys reported this month, as well as press reports and qualified engagement on social media, it can be concluded that DAB radio now accounts for less than 50% of daily radio listening in Norway.

Read more
Media authority press release Nye lyttertall - vi hører mer lokalradio

Bare 33 % hører på DAB  (lokalradio.no)
Lokalradio skyter fart etter FM-slukkingen: 60 prosent vekst i Troms og Finnmark (The daily Fremover, Narvik, april 2018)
Norwegen – Armageddon fürs Radio
Why DAB Radio in Norway, But Not in Sweden?
The Illusions of the DAB Radio World Are Worrying